Boston's Fenway Park to host Army-Navy baseball series opener in April
By BILL WAGNER | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 18, 2018
Naval Academy athletic director Chet Gladchuk was wrapping up a meeting with officials of Fenway Sports Management when talks turned to other opportunities.
It was not looking like Fenway Park was going to land the Army-Navy football game as hoped, but both sides were interested in building a relationship.
Gladchuk told The Capital on Wednesday there is a chance Fenway Park could host the Army-Notre Dame football game in the future. He also mentioned that Gillette Stadium, home to the New England Patriots of the National Football League, remains in the running for an Army-Navy football game down the road.
For now, the City of Boston will have to be content with hosting the Army-Navy baseball rivalry. Both service academies announced on Wednesday that the opener of their annual three-game series on the diamond would take place at fabled Fenway Park.
Army and Navy will kick off the weekend series with a Friday night game at Fenway Park on April 20 at 6 p.m. Army will host the remainder of the series with a doubleheader at Johnson Stadium at Doubleday Field on the West Point campus.
“This opportunity afforded by the Red Sox organization is one that will be long remembered by our young men and our program,” Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos said.
Kostacopoulos grew up in the New England region, played baseball at Providence College and later served as head coach at both his alma mater and Maine. He is well versed in Boston Red Sox history and has attended many games at Fenway Park.
“Fenway is one of the most iconic ball parks in America. It’s historical and has a certain mystique. Our players are very excited about playing a very meaningful game on such hallowed ground,” Kostacopoulos said. “Being from New England, I know first-hand how much the Red Sox organization values its relationship will all levels of baseball and the community.”
Army West Point head coach Jim Foster played for Kostacopoulos at Providence and is also a New England area native. Foster was completely onboard with the idea when it was broached and willingly gave up a home game.
“We are thrilled and very thankful to have the opportunity to play Navy at Fenway Park,” Foster said in a statement. “It is an incredible venue to compete in against our biggest rival on the field but biggest ally off of it. I know the response will be great from baseball fans all over, our alumni, and supporters of the military. I want to thank everyone in our administration and the Red Sox organization for making this happen. It will create lifelong memories for these future leaders of our country.”
Gladchuk, who was born and raised in Massachusetts and played football at Boston College, credited Mark Lev of Fenway Sports Management with broaching the idea of Navy considering other sporting events in the Boston area.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity because an Army-Navy baseball game at Fenway Park really has some sizzle,” Gladchuk said. “This is a tremendous treat for our players and I’m confident we can make it an extraordinary weekend for Naval Academy alumni in the region.”
Tickets for the Army-Navy baseball game at Fenway Park will go on sale at a later date, but both academies have already decided to donate all proceeds to the Home Base Program. That is a partnership between Massachusetts General Hospital and the Red Sox Foundation that helps veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Army-Navy will be one of two collegiate baseball games held at Fenway Park that particular weekend. The Red Sox have also announced that Boston College will host Florida State in an Atlantic Coast Conference contest on Saturday, April 21 at 3 p.m.